The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From August 4
Head to the flicks to see Brad Pitt take on a train full of assassins.
August 04, 2022
Something delightful has been happening in cinemas in some parts of the country. After numerous periods spent empty during the pandemic, with projectors silent, theatres bare and the smell of popcorn fading, picture palaces in many Australian regions are back in business — including both big chains and smaller independent sites in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
During COVID-19 lockdowns, no one was short on things to watch, of course. In fact, you probably feel like you've streamed every movie ever made, including new releases, Studio Ghibli's animated fare and Nicolas Cage-starring flicks. But, even if you've spent all your time of late glued to your small screen, we're betting you just can't wait to sit in a darkened room and soak up the splendour of the bigger version. Thankfully, plenty of new films are hitting cinemas so that you can do just that — and we've rounded up, watched and reviewed everything on offer this week.
Buy the ticket, take the ride, strap in for an onslaught of frenetic locomotive-bound fights: that's high-octane action-comedy Bullet Train on- and off-screen. Set on a shinkansen hurtling from Tokyo to Kyoto, in as stylised a vision of Japan that anyone not named Quentin Tarantino has ever thought of, this neon-lit adaptation of Kōtarō Isaka's 2010 page-turner Maria Beetle couldn't be more onboard with its central concept. That premise isn't snakes on a plane, but rather assassins on a train — plus one snake, one of nature's hitmen, actually. Cramming all those killers onto a single engine sparks mayhem, banter and bodies, not to mention chaotic frays in the quiet car and almost every other space. And when it works, with John Wick and Atomic Blonde's David Leitch steering the show, Tarantino and Guy Ritchie alum Brad Pitt as his main passenger, and a lifetime's worth of references to Thomas the Tank Engine slotted in, Bullet Train is as OTT and entertaining as it overtly wants to be.
It doesn't always completely work, however; every journey, zipping along on a high-speed train or not, has its dips. Still, there are plenty of moving parts trying to keep the movie in motion — and plenty of plot, for better and for worse in both instances. In his second 2022 action-comedy after The Lost City, Pitt plays Ladybug, who is back riding the hired-gun rails after a zen break packed with new-age self-help platitudes. That's what he spouts to his handler (Sandra Bullock, The Unforgivable) by phone, in-between rueing his bad luck, as he tries to carry out what's supposed to be an easy job. All that Ladybug needs to do is take a briefcase, then disembark at the next station. But that piece of luggage is being transported by British assassin double-act Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, The King's Man) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta), as they escort a Russian mobster's son (Logan Lerman, Hunters) home. To up the hitman ante, the shinkansen is also carrying The Prince (Joey King, The Princess) and Kimura (Andrew Koji, Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins), who have their own beef, as well as the revenge-seeking Wolf (Benito A Martínez Ocasio aka Bad Bunny, Fast and Furious 9).
As is always the case whenever anyone asks "are we there yet?" IRL, there's more: more twists and turns to the narrative, more bickering, more familiar names facing each other down, and a mass of flashbacks to events minutes, hours, days and months earlier, most of which make the leap from the page via Zak Olkewicz's (Fear Street: Part Two — 1978) screenplay. Wondering if the scribe and Leitch have seen Kill Bill, or the Pitt-starring Snatch, or the 90s attention-grabbers that were Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as they bring Isaka's novel to the screen is thoroughly pointless. But, after The Gray Man, Bullet Train is the second big, star-studded, midyear action flick that's pieced together from familiar components, only to boast the cast and visual spectacle to carry it off more often than not.
What a treat Pitt is, and has been for more than three decades — because that's how long it's been since Thelma & Louise thrust him to fame. Bullet Train draws upon his Ocean's Eleven brand of chattering, casual, happy-go-lucky charisma, even with Ladybug grappling with an existential crisis over his chosen profession. Pitt is comic, but never reaches Burn After Reading's goofiness. Amid the navel-gazing and bromides, he's still calm, collected and supremely capable at holding his own, but never to a Once Upon a Time in Hollywood extent. Although Leitch doesn't give Pitt his own John Wick or Atomic Blonde, it's as crucial a piece of casting. Neither of those two flicks would be the gems they are without their specific stars, and Bullet Train similarly wouldn't have hit the marks it does without its bucket hat-wearing biggest name and his detailed performance.
Read our full review.
If you're wondering what else is currently screening in Australian cinemas — or has been lately — check out our rundown of new films released in Australia on May 5, May 12, May 19 and May 26; June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23 and June 30; and July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28.
You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as Petite Maman, The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Firestarter, Operation Mincemeat, To Chiara, This Much I Know to Be True, The Innocents, Top Gun: Maverick, The Bob's Burgers Movie, Ablaze, Hatching, Mothering Sunday, Jurassic World Dominion, A Hero, Benediction, Lightyear, Men, Elvis, Lost Illusions, Nude Tuesday, Ali & Ava, Thor: Love and Thunder, Compartment No. 6, Sundown, The Gray Man, The Phantom of the Open, The Black Phone, Where the Crawdads Sing, Official Competition, The Forgiven, Full Time and Murder Party.
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